New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday agreed to hear AAP government's appeal against its single judge's order partially staying a notification scrapping management quota and some other criteria in nursery admissions in private unaided schools.
The Delhi government's Directorate of Education (DoE) has in its appeal contended that its 6 January order scrapping various admission criteria and management quota "was validly and lawfully" issued to ensure that admissions to entry-level classes like nursery are made in a "fair and reasonable" manner.
In its plea, listed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, the DoE has said the decision was taken "without any view to interfering in the autonomy of private unaided schools".
It has said the "objective was not to deprive private unaided schools of their autonomy, but to ensure that admission to entry level classes are made in a fair, reasonable, rational, transparent and non-exploitative manner."
The DoE said it was "fully empowered and competent in terms of Delhi Schools Education Act and Rules framed thereunder to issue" the 6 January order.
Terming the practice of granting admissions under management quota as being allegedly "non-transparent and opaque", DoE has said the intention behind the notification was to "prevent maladministration".
The single-judge by his 4 February order had stayed DoE's 6 January order with regard to scrapping of management quota as well as 11 other admission criteria, saying it was issued "without any authority" and was in conflict with an earlier decision of the Lieutenant Governor.
The 11 criteria include those relating to the proven track record of parents, their proficiency in music or sports, their empirical achievements, the gender of the child and whether the kid was the first born or adopted.
The single-judge was of the prima facie view that the Delhi government's 6 January order, scrapping a total of 62 criteria and management quota, was "issued without any authority" and was in "direct conflict" with the LG's 2007 order on nursery admissions in private unaided schools.
The single-judge had also said the court was of the prima facie view "there is nothing in the 11 criteria which would show that they are unreasonable or based on whims and fancies and/or they can lead to maladministration."
On the issue of management quota, the court had said the high court-appointed Ganguly committee and the government had done a balancing act whereby the 100 per cent discretion enjoyed by private schools in admissions was minimised, but not abolished.
"It is pertinent to mention that management quota had been recommended by expert Ganguly committee formed by a division bench and accepted and approved by the Government of Delhi in its order of 2007," the court had said.
The government, in its appeal, has said the issue of management quota "needs to be approached differently than as recommended by the Ganguly committee" in view of the "change in time and subsequent experiences".
The DoE has sought quashing of the 4 February order of the single judge who had observed that "promoters of a school who make investment at their own personal risk are entitled to full autonomy in administration including the right to admit students."
"However, any alleged malpractice in utilisation of the management quota like sale of seats being actionable should be investigated and taken to its logical conclusion in accordance with law, but it cannot be a ground to abolish the quota itself. After all, vesting of discretion is not bad, but to misuse it, is illegal," the single judge had added.
The order had come on the pleas filed by Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools and Forum for Promotion of Quality Education For All, seeking quashing of the DoE's 6 January order.